Missing Healdsburg Public Art Returned
Santa Rosa attorney returns part of 21-ft. 800-pound “Hammer” sculpture stolen in October 2018
April 12, 2019
Healdsburg, Calif. - The City of Healdsburg and the Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation announced the return today of part of “The Hammer,” a prominent redwood and metal sculpture that was stolen in early October of 2018.
Santa Rosa Attorney Izaak Schwaiger contacted the Healdsburg Police Department yesterday to report that the 6-ft. tall, metal hammer head -- sans 21-ft. long redwood handle -- was found on the Sonoma County property of a client, and to mediate the artwork’s return on his client’s behalf. Schwaiger did not provide his client’s name.
“We believe the hammer snatcher had an attack of guilty conscience and decided to do their best to make amends,” said Judy Voigt, co-founder of the Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation, which has a fabrication facility in Geyserville where Artist Doug Unkrey created the large art installation.
“This is a celebration of art and honesty,” she added. “We don’t know why it was taken, but we’re glad to have it back.”
The remaining section of the artwork was reunited today with Unkrey, who plans to fully rehabilitate the artwork. He has his work cut out for him. After evaluating and repairing any damage to the metal head, Unkrey will find a suitable redwood tree trunk from which to carve a new handle. The original artwork weighed 800 pounds; the hammerhead itself weighs about 200 pounds.
Once “The Hammer” is ready, it will be returned to the front lawn of the Healdsburg Community Center.
“I’m happy to welcome ‘The Hammer’ back home,” said Healdsburg Mayor David Hagele. “Its presence and jarring absence highlights the impact public art has on our community by drawing neighbors together in conversation.”
“The Hammer” was stolen on Oct. 6 or 7, igniting a news frenzy. The artwork was installed at the Healdsburg Community Center in May 2018 as part of the City of Healdsburg’s temporary-art installation program. The sculpture is one of more than a dozen pieces of public art that dot the Healdsburg landscape, such as along the Foss Creek trail and in the downtown area.
Al and Judy Voigt founded the Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation in 2005 to promote an appreciation for sculpture and to facilitate the installation of outdoor sculpture in publicly-accessible places. It has installed dozens of sculptures throughout Sonoma County.
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